An instance which occurred in the last National tournament nicely illustrates the absurdity of our sensitive discrimination between the natural and the artificial points of aim. A top-notcher. shooting at one of the targets, found a distinct blade of grass or leaf that was exactly suited to his point of aim, which he repeatedly and openly warned his companions to keep off from. But I venture to say, had it been accidentally destroyed, or pushed aside, he would rather have suffered defeat than openly replace it. or even shove it with his foot a little nearer to place, because ho would feel that the eyes of the highbrows were upon him, relegating him to the eternal bow-wows of archery. And yet he had no more legitimate right, according to every rule of honorable sport, to guard that blade of grass, in the way he did, than he would to place and guard an artificial point of aim.
One of the most irrevocable laws, written or unwritten, in all forms of legitimate sport is that which gives, "or is intended to give." an equal chance to every competitor to truly show "the stuff that is in him," and to remove as far as possible the element of luck.
The only way this can he accomplished in regard to the "point of aim" is to make an official ruling that it will in the future be quite as legitimate to place an artificial point of aim on the ground (regulated as to size, etc.) as it is to resort to other mechanical expedients to improve one's aim.
At the last National meeting, I obtained permission of the officers to place a point of aim in the 40 and 50-yard frames of the American round. Only one other archer availed himself of this expedient. I couldn't help feeling, however, that I was taking an advantage that many disapproved of as beneath true archery, because it had not been officially accepted as a legitimate part of the game, as is the natural point of aim.
Now a word in regard to methods for the repeated duplication of the position of the hand or knock of the arrow in its relation to the eye, and which, good archers will agree, should always be in perfect harmony with other factors of the combination of movements which results in record-breaking scores.
There is no doubt that many archers through long practice acquire the same subconscious activities of accuracy in this part if the act of shooting that guides the hands of skilled musicians, who. should they have a single flash of conscious thought intended to more exactly direct a certain movement of the fingers, they would be very liable to make an error, or a slight interruption in the time of the music, because of the detraction required for the brain to again think out the physical detail as in the beginning. Most archers, however. touch some definite point with the hand, the fingers or the thumb—which they strive to exactly duplicate, and which in time no doubt tends toward subconscious duplication. But until the habit is fully formed to exactly duplicate the position of the movement, as perhaps is true of Will Thompson, Homer Taylor, and others, the exactness of the position is very uncertain, because it is dependent more or less upon slightly movable points of contact.